“Without the power, Isaac would die. That’s no exaggeration. So I have to pay, no matter what the cost.”
For Maxine Rothchester, keeping the power in her house is literally a matter of life and death.
She has looked after Isak since he was eight months old. He is now nearly nine, but his condition means he has the mental age of a newborn and weighs just 11kg.
Since birth, he has suffered from Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome, an extremely rare condition which means he needs round-the-clock care and special equipment to keep him alive.
“I, like many parents with children who need this equipment, am terrified,” Maxine told Sky News.
“The equipment we need is not a choice – it’s life for Isaac.
“He has an elevator to get up, we have a bathroom that goes up and down, we have a profiling bed, he’s on oxygen 24/7 – which is powered by a machine. Every aspect of his life is controlled by electricity.”
As a full-time carer for Isaac, Maxine cannot work elsewhere to supplement her income. She relies on Universal Credit and help from the NHS.
Her weekly electricity bills have already increased.
“I’ve already noticed they’re changing,” she said.
“We’re probably spending about £30 a week more than we were. I don’t quite know how we’re going to cope when it all goes back up. Because the money coming in is going to stay the same (but) the money going out is going to become much more.”
Maxine added: “Yes, we get disability benefits but it’s supposed to be there to cover things for Isaac like play equipment. It’s not supposed to pay the household bills, that’s what it will end up being.”
Maxine said she has “nothing left to cut”.
She continued: “I have dogs but I’m not going to get rid of my dogs because that’s my sanity.
“I can’t think of any other way to save money. I’ll just have to pay it. I’ll just have to find it somehow. Probably cut back on my own food.”
Maxine said she wants the government to outline clear and precise details of exactly what extra help will be offered to those struggling to pay the rising bills.
“Having a plan ahead of the next big upturn would be a very good thing to help us stop worrying even more,” she said.
As we leave Maxine and Isaac, her parting words are a stark example of how hard it is for someone to rack up bills: “I’m not asking for much, I’m just asking for help with power to keep my little boy alive.”